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The Huguenots in France

Samuel Smiles

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Geisteswissenschaften, Kunst, Musik / Geschichte


Though the greatest number of Huguenots banished from France at the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes were merchants and manufacturers, who transferred their skill and arts to England, which was not then a manufacturing country; a large number of nobles and gentry emigrated to this and other countries, leaving their possessions to be confiscated by the French king. The greater number of the nobles entered the armies of the countries in which they took refuge. In Holland, they joined the army of the Prince of Orange, afterwards William III., King of England. After driving the armies of Louis XIV. out of Ireland, they met the French at Ramilies, Blenheim, and Malplacquet, and other battles in the Low Countries. A Huguenot engineer directed the operations at the siege of Namur, which ended in its capture. Another conducted the siege of Lille, which was also taken. But perhaps the greatest number of Huguenot nobles entered the Prussian service. Their descendants revisited France on more than one occasion. They overran the northern and eastern parts of France in 1814 and 1815; and last of all they vanquished the descendants of their former persecutors at Sedan in 1870. Sedan was, prior to the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes, the renowned seat of Protestant learning; while now it is known as the scene of the greatest military catastrophe which has occurred in modern history. The Prime Minister of France, M. Jules Simon, not long ago recorded the fateful effects of Louis XIV.'s religious intolerance. In discussing the perpetual ecclesiastical questions which still disturb France, he recalled the fact that not less than eighty of the German staff in the late war were representatives of Protestant families, driven from France by the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes.

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